The National Professional Teachers’ Association of South Africa (NAPTOSA) says it is unfortunate that government has not included teachers in the first groups that will receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says healthcare workers will be the first group to be vaccinated when the vaccine is delivered from India to South Africa this month and next month.

NAPTOSA executive director Basil Manuel says teachers are also frontline workers.

“We didn’t see the word teachers specifically mentioned but you’ve got to look at teachers because like it or not, teachers are also the caregivers of millions of children and they’ve got to look after those children so the economically active population can get on with the job. I’m saying we’ve got to judge everything by its merits.”

Teachers’ union SAOU calls for educators to be prioritised for vaccinations:

Research shows vaccines have significant impact on new COVID-19 variant

Public health specialist Dr Kerrin Begg says research conducted so far has shown that the vaccines to combat the coronavirus still have a significant impact on the new variant that is fuelling new infections in South Africa. Research is continuing to determine if the vaccines developed would be effective against the new variant and so far there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Begg says even though the variant may be slightly more resistant to antibodies, this is not enough to mitigate the efficacy of the vaccines.

“From what scientists are looking at, the receptor-binding protein still appears to be the same and so while there are mutations on some of the spike proteins, it does appear that the antibodies produced by the vaccine would still have some significant impact on the virus. Remember that even if we get a slight reduction in the impact of the vaccine on the virus, it still will have a dramatic impact on the transmission of the virus and therefore the number of cases that we have and therefore the number of severe cases that we have. It will still be a significant impact to have the vaccine available.”